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The National Wildlife Federation Announces 2016 Ranger Rick Photographer of the Year Award

Winner to be featured in the June/July 2017 issue of Ranger Rick magazine

WASHINGTON, DC - The National Wildlife Federation and its treasured publication, Ranger Rick magazine, are pleased to announce Claudio Contreras Koob of Mexico City, Mexico, as the winner of the Ranger Rick 2016 Photographer of the Year Award. Each year this award is given to the professional photographer or photography team whose work in Ranger Rick has most effectively advanced the magazine’s mission: to inspire in young children a love and understanding of wildlife and the natural world.

Contreras’s endearing and informative American Flamingo photos appeared in the February 2016 issue of Ranger Rick and are an outstanding contribution to the magazine’s mission. The photographs demonstrate the unique nesting habitat of the American Flamingo and the importance of protecting vulnerable breeding grounds and reducing human interference with wildlife.

Ranger Rick’s photo editor, Susan McElhinney, said about the photographer, “Claudio’s photos bring nature to life for our thousands of young readers. Behind his work is a clear passion for wildlife and an undying mission to inspire others to protect our natural world. His abilities to use photography to tell a story and connect with readers is what makes his work truly powerful.”

Contreras has been photographing Mexico’s unique and amazing wildlife for over 25 years. He studied biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, but decided his mission to conserve and protect species would best be accomplished through photography instead. During his travels, Contreras became ever more involved in conservation-related projects both in his home country and abroad. His favorite subjects are sea birds and the splendid courtship dances they display. Contreras relishes all his time in nature, but he describes the best moments as when he is able to sit by an animal and feel totally accepted by it. “It's a kind of communication where no words are needed,” explains Contreras.

As a citizen of the fourth most diverse country in the world, Contreras understands the importance of calling attention to Mexico’s natural spaces and protecting the nation’s invaluable ecosystems. Contreras has worked for years to document his country’s biodiversity with the aim of promoting conservation through national magazines and books. His mission is to highlight the need to conserve Mexico’s natural heritage and he does this through collaboration with the Federal Environmental Agency and several Non Profit Organizations.

Contreras is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Along with other ILCP fellows, he worked on the Project Seahorse Expedition: Danajon Bank, an international photo exhibition, book, and advocacy campaign established to help protect Danajon Bank, a rare and ecologically important coral reef in the Philippines, and to educate the world about marine conservation. Contreras has joined ILCP teams on two other Photographic Expeditions in the past, one in British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters region and the other one in the US/Mexico Borderlands. 

Contreras’s photographs have been published in numerous other nature publications. He has written blogs for Mission Blue, Mares Mexicanos, and Images For Conservation Fund just to name a few, and also works as a picture editor for conservation and nature-related books.

Along with the distinction of being named Ranger Rick Photographer of the Year, Contreras receives a $1,000 prize and an announcement in the June/July 2017 issue of Ranger Rick.

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